It’s hard to find a Florida State Parks Camping site that is not a great place to vacation. There are more than 900 campgrounds in Florida with more than 100,000 campsites. Some of the best and most popular campgrounds are located at the beach, but anywhere you camp in Florida is great. Depending on the time of year, the kind of rig or tent you have, and what you want to do, anywhere you stay in Florida is going to create happy memories. With little rain, and only infrequent weeks of hot weather, Florida is the perfect state to seek out winter camping where temps average 70 to 80 degrees from November to April. So stop thinking you can only camp in the summer, spring and fall. Winter is the best time to find a Florida state park and go camping.
Senior Discounts for Florida Campers
Seniors everywhere get discounts on everything from hotels to meals, but Florida residents over the age of 65 receive a 50% discount on camping fees at all parks, and all of these campgrounds accept pets. If you’re not from Florida, travel with someone who is, or ask for other discounts at any park you stay at.
Florida State Parks Campgrounds
Camping in Florida is great wherever you go, but each section of the state offers something different. Because the entire state is mostly sunny and perfect for enjoying the great outdoors it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for. Do you want to lounge on the beach, go deep-sea fishing, paddle through the state’s famous swamps? Find the campground or state park that offers the most of what you want to do. There are so many parks across Florida they’ve been divided into regions so people can find what they want easier. The regions are:
- North Central
- Central East
- Central West
Tips for Camping In Florida State Parks Camping
The best camping season for Florida is the fall and winter months. The weather is cooler, and the amazing scenery is at its peak. Load up the RV as we review an RV campground tip checklist for you.
Book your site in the off-season
Off-season RVing is the best. Campgrounds are not as busy, noisy or as crowded. But book ahead. October and November, as well as April through May, are great times to reserve an RV campsite and have some more peace and quiet. You’ll beat the snowbirds to the sites before they drive south for the winter, and you’ll get to take advantage of the spots after they head back north after Easter.
Visit the website and read the rules
Whether you are staying in a Florida State Park or a private campground or RV park, it’s important to read the rules of the specific campground before you arrive. This helps you know what you’re allowed to bring and allows you to set up your RV properly when you arrive.
The whole point of having an RV is being able to camp without really having to rough it. Knowing ahead of time that you may not have access to certain amenities that regular RV parks do can be a game changer – or not. To ensure you’ll have the amenities you want, like:
- Water Hookups
- Sewer Service
- Electric Service
- Cable television connection
Call or visit the campground/park website to make sure you know what your campground site offers before you book your trip so you can plan ahead of time. If your campground doesn’t offer the services you need, you can still make sure to fill up your fresh water tanks, and have a generator with a full tank of gas to ensure a good stay.
Bring food and a grill.
Depending on the fire season you may not be allowed to have a campfire, but most parks do allow propane grills. If you plan on doing your own cooking, make sure you have everything you need as most camp stores only carry the essentials. Fill up your coolers with ice before you arrive in case the campsite is out of ice, or doesn’t sell it (rare, but it happens!)
Florida State Parks Campgrounds by Region
There are too many state parks and campgrounds to list, but these are some of the more popular, or unique ones in each region:
Northwest Region Florida State Parks Campgrounds – Florida State Parks Camping
Northwest Florida is located in the Florida panhandle. Located at the very top of the state, the campgrounds in the Northwest tend to have snow white beaches, few snowbirds (RVers), and lots of oceanfront campsites. Fall and spring, when the weather is moderate and welcoming, are the best times to visit the panhandle. From mid-December until early March, the weather is unpredictable, and can drop as low as freezing, or see snow – although it rarely lasts long. Taking a chance on the winter weather has its rewards. When you get a winter day with temps in the 70s and nobody else is around, it’s worth the risk.
Fall is a great time to visit northwest Florida. This time of year brings a flood of seafood festivals starting with the Pensacola and Destin Seafood Festivals in late September and early October. The season peaks with the Florida Seafood Festival in oyster-rich Apalachicola in early November. http://www.floridarambler.com/fish-houses-crab-shacks-tiki-bars-restaurants/florida-seafood-festival-apalachicola/
For the adventurous of any age, the Panhandle’s state parks offer a wealth of outdoor recreation year-round – kayaking, off-road bicycling, hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing and more.
Big Lagoon State Park – Florida State Parks Camping
12301 Gulf Beach Highway
Park office: 850-492-1595
Camping Fee: $20/night plus tax and a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee
If you love birding, this beachside state park is your best campsite, especially in fall. A rest stop for birds who migrate across the Gulf of Mexico, bound for the Caribbean and Latin America, you’ll see birds here you won’t find anywhere else. A mile-long boardwalk and 3.5-mile nature trail helps you get up close and personal with your feathered friends.
The campground has 75 sites with water, electricity, picnic tables and fire rings. There are two sprawling, white-sand beaches and a boat ramp. Excellent campground for kayaks and canoes, as well as boats of all kinds. Crabbing in the shallow waters of the lagoon is a popular activity in this 655-acre park. Pets are welcome in the campground. Maximum RV length is 45 feet.
Blackwater River State Park – Florida State Parks Camping
Bridge Road Holt, FL
Park office: 850-983-5363
Camping Fee: $20/night plus tax and a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee
A favorite destination for kayakers and canoeists, this campground is nestled under tall pines and is just a short walk from the river. Hikers can explore and enjoy more than 600 acres of undisturbed woods and scenic environments. There are 30 RV campsites, each with 20-30-50-amp service, water, sewer hookups, picnic table and a grill. Pets are welcome, the campground is wheelchair accessible, and the maximum RV length is 45 feet.
Falling Waters State Park – Florida State Parks Camping
1130 State Park Road
Park office: 850-638-6130
Camping Fee: $18/night plus tax and a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee
If you love waterfalls, this is where you’ll find Florida’s highest – a 73-foot cascade that drops to the bottom of a sinkhole. Huge trees and fern-covered sinkholes line the trail to the waterfall, making getting there and back just as beautiful as the falls themselves. The campground is on one of the highest hills in Florida, at 324 feet above sea level. This is a peaceful park with scenic nature trails and a two-acre lake with a white sand beach. There are 24 campsites, each with electric, water, picnic table and a ground grill. Pets are welcome, the campground is not wheelchair accessible, and the maximum RV length is 40 feet.
Northeast Region Region Florida State Parks Camping
Florida’s northeast camping region combines rich Spanish and Colonial historical charms and a vivid experience of nature. If you’re looking for both a great camping experience and a chance to explore Florida’s fascinating history, the northeast region of Florida is perfect. Look for manatee along the St Johns River, take a walk through Florida’s past or relax on the beaches of the Atlantic. Northeast Florida is an area with white sand beaches, vast acres of woodlands, natural springs and sparkling waterways.
Ocklawaha Canoe Outpost RV Park – Florida State Parks Camping
15260 N.E. 152nd Place
Ft. McCoy, Florida 32134-9733
There is no better canoeing in Florida than on the Ocklawaha River. If you don’t have a canoe, or kayak, don’t worry. You can rent one, or more, please give them a 24-hour notice for all rentals. If your group needs to rent 8 boats or more, they need at least a 7-day notice. All rentals do need reservations. The Ocklawaha Canoe Outpost and Resort is situated on 7.25 acres of serene, untouched beauty on the Ocklawaha River abutting the Ocala National Forest and centrally located between Jacksonville, Tampa, Gainesville, Orlando and Ocala. This park is really a small mom and pop campground that offers a personal touch and care you don’t find in many places. They have a fishing pond, playground, recreation room and a private boat ramp.
Riverwood RV Village – Florida State Parks Camping
1389 C.R. 309
Georgetown, FL 32139
Local Phone: 386-467-7144
Toll Free: 888-467-7144
Riverwood RV Village is located on the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway, on the Indian River directly in front of Bissette Bay and one mile to Mosquito Lagoon. They offer year round fishing, shrimping, and boating, with two boat launches, boat slips and storage. They have restrooms, hot showers, 30/50 AMP service and laundry facilities. Pets are welcomed.
North Central Region Florida State Parks Camping
Juniper Springs Recreation Area, Ocala National Forest
The Juniper Springs Recreation Area is along SR 40 between Mill Dam and SR 19, just 9 miles west of Astor and the St. Johns River.
Phone: Call 352-625-2808
Phone: (352) 625-3147
This campground was named one of ReserveAmerica’s Top 100 Family Campgrounds in the United States. The concessionaire sells snacks, groceries, charcoal, firewood, ice and novelties, as well as renting canoes and providing livery service. Providing a getaway to the heart of the Ocala National Forest since the 1930s, the Juniper Springs Campground within Juniper Springs Recreation Area offers 79 deeply shaded spaces within walking distance of some of Florida’s most beautiful springs.
Fern Hammock Springs, which is only accessible by walking a short distance from Juniper Springs, looks like a magic fairy setting. There are many, many beautiful places in Ocala National Forest, which is located in north central Florida.
Central Region Florida State Parks Camping
Rainbow Springs State Park
19158 SW 81st Place Road
Dunnellon, FL 34432
Phone: (352) 465-8555
Rainbow Springs State Park is home to three facilities: the main “headsprings” entrance, the tubing entrance, and the campground. At the main headsprings entrance, visitors may swim in the freshwater headsprings of the Rainbow River, rent canoes and kayaks, view waterfalls and gardens, and enjoy a picnic area with grills, and pavilions. For large gatherings, private pavilions can be reserved. Tubes are not allowed in the headsprings area of the park.
About 9 miles away, at the tubing entrance, visitors may rent tubes and use a shuttle service to float down the Rainbow River back to their vehicles. Contact the park for times, prices, and regulations. You won’t be among the first to enjoy these fantastic waters. Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been using Rainbow Spring for nearly 10,000 years. It is Florida’s fourth largest spring. Today, the Rainbow River is popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking.
The Central East Region Florida State Parks Camping
Central East Florida is home to the space industry, sweeping Atlantic beaches, manatees, world-class birding, scenic wetlands, lush gardens, rockets blasting off, sea turtle nesting, airboat tours, a major cruise ship port, Florida’s surfing capital, lighthouses, prairies, long fishing piers for fishing, sunsets and relaxation, and so much more.
Our pick for a great campground?
Blackwater River – Florida State Parks Camping
7720 Deaton Bridge Rd
Milton, FL 32564
Phone: (850) 983-5363
The Blackwater River campground consists of thirty sites nestled among towering Longleaf pine, Magnolia trees, and Atlantic white cedar. A favorite with Geocachers, this site is very family oriented. The Magnolia loop features a playground that is easily viewed from most of the sites in the loop. Sites range from fully shaded to sunny. Each campsite has 20, 30, and 50-amp electric service, potable water connections, RV sewer hookup, picnic table, fire ring and grill. The sites can accommodate all types of tent camping and up to 50 foot RVs. A playground is available for the kids. From the campground, the Juniper Lake Trail opens up to the unspoiled beauty of the Blackwater River for hikers, beachgoers, and anglers. A well-maintained restroom with showers is located between the two loops, and is accessible via boardwalk from each camping loop. Pets are welcome in designated areas.
For campers who wish to use it, a dump station is located on the campground road.
Maximum RV length = 50 ft.
The Central West Region Florida State Parks Camping
Known as a campers’ paradise. This region offers:
- 1 State Historic Site
- 6 National Wildlife Refuges
- 2 State Forests
- 1 State Preserve
- 1 National Memorial
- 11 State Parks
For more information and details visit: http://www.stateparks.com/central_west_florida_parks.html
If you’re a history buff or a war fan, you’ll enjoy staying at:
Fort Cooper State Park – Florida State Parks Camping
3100 South Old Floral City Road
Inverness, Florida 34450
The sparkling waters of Lake Holathlikaha were a welcome sight to sick and wounded soldiers during the Second Seminole War. In 1836, the First Georgia Battalion of Volunteers built a stockade for the soldiers resting here, enabling the Volunteers to hold their own through several skirmishes with the Seminole Indians.
The park has more than just history to offer. Its diverse natural areas provide a refuge for many plants and animals, including threatened and endangered species. Fishing in Lake Holathlikaha is a popular activity; swimming is available only when the lake level is high enough. Private boats are not allowed on the lake, but paddle boat and canoe rentals are available. Nearly five miles of self-guided trails offer some of the best bird and wildlife viewing in Citrus County. Park visitors also can enjoy the picnic facilities, a recreation hall, and primitive group campground. Located off U.S. 41 on S
Southwest Region Florida State Parks Camping
The Southwest and Central region of Florida is best known for placid Gulf waters, white sand beaches and abundant bird life. The central and lower Gulf coast features some stellar beach camping in Florida. Your options include discovering a remote island accessible only by boat, or kicking back in a full-service campground within minutes of downtown St. Petersburg.
Fort De Soto County Park – Florida State Parks Camping
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.
Tierra Verde, FL 33715
There’s hardly an award this Park hasn’t won. Dr. Beach chose it as the number one beach in the nation in 2005, in 2011 it was named America’s best family beach by the editors of Parents, and TripAdvisor named it America’s Top Beach in 2009. Many of its campsites are situated on the calm backwater, with the beach just a short drive or paddle away. Mature trees provide thick shade over most of the campsites. Who doesn’t love a gentle ocean breeze? You’ll get that and more when camping here. The campground offers both tent and RV camping and all sites have both electricity and water. The Park also offers bike and kayak rentals, two fishing piers and a historical fort.
Cayo Costa Island State Park (La Costa Island) – Florida State Parks Camping
4 Nautical Miles West of Pine Island (26.685789, -82.245381)
Cayo Costa, FL 33922
Phone: (941) 964-0375
Since there are no roads or bridges to this island, you’ll have to take the Tropic Star ferries passengers to Cayo Costa State Park. The ferry makes the trek daily, leaving from Bokeelia on Pine Island. With nine miles of beautiful beaches and acres of pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and mangrove swamps, this barrier island park is a Gulf Coast paradise. Visitors may see manatees and pods of dolphins in the waters around the 2,426 acre park, as well as a spectacular assortment of birds.
La Costa Island is a fairly large and mostly undeveloped island between North Captiva and Boca Grande. The camping area is right behind the small dunes and just steps away from a fantastic crescent-shaped beach. Several six-person cabins are also available. None of the sites have electricity or water. Showers and flush toilets are available, as is drinking water. You may find that you have the beach practically all to yourself.
Red Coconut RV Resort – Florida State Parks Camping
3001 Estero Blvd
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
Tel: (239) 463-7200
1 (888) 262-6226
If you want to step right out of your tent or RV onto a white-sand beach put Red Coconut RV Resort on your “to stay” list. Located on Fort Myers Beach, this resort caters to RV’s. If you like vintage, you’ll love this vintage era/themed park. It sits on 450′ of pristine beachfront giving every camper a front door view of the ocean. There are 60 RV sites, showers, and a laundry facility. It’s close to all the conveniences of Fort Myers Beach and is on a trolley stop (and traffic noise). Each RV sites consists of a concrete slab, full hook ups, basic cable, internet service & picnic table. Guests may use grills and have access to the Clubhouse. The campground also invites guests to join the Red Coconut Family for Thanksgiving & Christmas Dinner, Superbowl Party & Easter Dinner. If you don’t have an RV, there are rentals available.
Southeast Region Florida State Parks Camping
If you look at a map of the state park campgrounds in southeast Florida you’ll notice they’re spaced almost side-by-side down along the eastern shoreline of the state. We suggest starting with:
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
County Road 905, Mile Marker 106
Key Largo, FL 33037
Phone: (305) 451-1202
Rescued from becoming a condominium development, this park contains one of the largest tracts of West Indian tropical hardwood hammock in the United States. It’s home to 84 protected species of plants and animals, including wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe and the American crocodile. Over six miles of park trails gives visitors a chance to see some of these rare species of plants and animals. Most of the park’s trails are paved and accessible to both bicycles and wheelchairs. Signs along a self-guided nature trail provide information about the park’s ecosystem and wildlife. Ranger-guided tours are also available. This park is located on County Road 905, half-mile north of the intersection with U.S. Highway 1 at Mile Marker 106.